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Teaching Your Kids to Drive as a Dad 

When a teenager is preparing themselves to learn how to drive in anticipation of obtaining their license, it can be an extremely exciting time for them, but as a dad, it can be terrifying. The last thing in the world that you want is for something to happen to your child when they are behind the wheel. The road can be a dangerous place, however, in most areas of the United Kingdom, learning to drive is a necessity that can help your teenager get to their sports practices, clubs, or afterschool activities, and allow them to take one of the first steps into adulthood. As a dad, if you are planning to teach your son or daughter how to drive, then there are a few basics that you should understand to make the process of teaching driving basics to your son or daughter as smooth as possible.

Before you get started

Before you even get started teaching your son or daughter how to drive, there are some important things to keep in mind about your approach to how you are going to teach. Also, you may want to take some time to cover some vehicle basics with your child before you have your first driving sessions. Here are some steps you can take to prepare for your first driving lesson with your kid. 

  • Check your insurance policy: Before you get started, you may want to contact your insurance company to see if your car insurances policy covers a learner. Many people simply assume their policy covers their child when they are learning to drive, however, some policies may explicitly not. If your insurance policy does not cover a son or daughter who is learning to drive, you should get a quote for provisional learner driver insurance and cover your child and your vehicle during the period of time they will be learning to drive. 
  • Plan ahead: Before you have your first driving session with your teenager, you should plan a route ahead of time that may be in an area you and your teenager are familiar with. The area should also reflect the driving skill level of your son or daughter. For example, you may not want to have your first driving session involve merging onto freeways or navigating one-way streets. In addition to planning the route ahead of time, you should also make sure that you choose an appropriate time of day where conditions are mild for your first driving session. For example, you may not want to take your teenager out for their first session at night when it is raining. 
  • Go through driving theory: When you have the driving session thought out, give your kids some homework to read through beforehand. For example, if you are going to teach your kid about defensive driving, have your kid learn about that theoretically before the lesson. There are a few really good online prep sites you can use to make the process easier. I prefer the Zutobi mock tests because they provide more active learning than anything else I’ve found.
  • Vehicle basics: Before you leave your driveway, you should show your kid some of the basics of how a vehicle works. Some of it may seem a little bit overkill, however, you should never assume what your teenager may know or not know. Basics to cover include the following.
  • Fastening seat belts
  • Adjusting mirrors and knowing your blind spots
  • Seat adjustments
  • Hand positions on the steering wheel
  • Turn signals, lights, windshield wipers, and defrost/heat/AC
  • Speedometer and RPM gauge
  • Headlights
  • Any other vehicle basics you think of that are essential to the function and operation of the vehicle while you are driving. 

After you have proper insurance placed on the vehicle, you plan your route and pick a good time to drive, and you cover all the vehicle basics with your teenager, it is time for your first driving session.

The First Driving Session

After you have covered all the basics about how the vehicle functions, operates, and some of the vehicle’s safety features, it is time to have your first driving session. As part of the first session, you should continue covering more basics about how the vehicle operates. Here are some essentials to cover when you and your teenager are experiencing your first driving sessions together. 

  • Vehicle basics (continued): Previously you covered many of the basics of the vehicle, but now it is time to focus more on operational basics. For example, how to turn on and turn off the vehicle, how to place the vehicle in park, drive, neutral, and reverse. If you have a manual transmission vehicle, then you may need to spend some additional time explaining the gears, the clutch, and how and when to shift between the different gears. Some other vehicle operation basics you should cover include the following.
  1. Reversing the vehicle
  2. Proper braking
  3. Controlling the vehicle at all times
  4. Signalling your turns to other drivers

After the basics are covered, you are ready to hit the road and cover some of the important key points about interacting with other drivers. 

  • Sharing the road: Once you leave the driveway, it is time to learn about how to interact with the other drivers on the road. Some of the basics of being a good driverwhen it comes to interacting with others include the following.
  1. Maintaining safe following distances
  2. Defensive driving skills
  3. Making lane changes
  4. What to do at an intersection
  5. Three-point turns
  6. U-turns
  7. Merging onto freeways

These two main points are most likely sufficient for the first driving session. When you are teaching your teenager how to drive, it is important to take things slow and do not overwhelm them with too much information or stress them out by trying to cover too many driving skills all at once. 

Things to Remember

After your first driving session with your teenager, you are going to want to progress the lessons to include more advanced driving skills like all the different types of parking, driving at night, driving in rain or snow, and emergency braking. However, remember to only progress at a comfortable pace, and as your teenager gains more confidence, you can introduce them to these types of advanced driving skills.

Last, the success of your driving sessions depends on your behaviour as a father to your son or daughter. It can be stressful teaching a teenager how to drive, however, it is important to stay calm, avoid becoming agitated, and lead by example by demonstrating your own safe and responsible driving skills at all times.

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